By Monique Salez
My dad/Pops just returned from his yearly pilgrimage to the south of France where he was born and raised. He visits family and friends but the main event is driving the winding south central foothills of the Pyrenees to attend dances – over 45 in two months. Pops is 74 and adores partner dancing for the human connection, the exercise and creative expression. Pops believes this dance culture will eventually fade away due in part to the surge of disco that moved the young people into city venues where they danced independently.
In Victoria where we have a diversity of partner dance from Swing to Ballroom to Latin it is music that is bringing a new vitality to partner dancing in Victoria. With its roots in Angola, Kizomba, both the dance and music, is a slow, sensual groove with a steady and at times intense rhythm. Sometimes described as African tango for the fusion of footwork and lower leg actions reminiscent of Argentinian tango coupled with hips and torso expressing hyper isolative movements and unapologetic sensual expression, Kizomba is often characterized by onlookers whistling and hooting their encouragement. With over four years in Victoria, Kizomba is surging and Bernard Henin of Salsa Moderna has been one of the local teachers who has been travelling the world to learn this style to add to his latin repetoire. Henin observes that “the music is more appealing and relatable to the younger generation” and believes this is why he is seeing an increasing number of men learning the moves. So those looking ahead to a dance filled New Year’s check out Kizomba classes at latinvictoria.ca or Dec. 28th join the Kizomba Social at The Martin Bachelor Gallery at 7:15 p.m. As for Pops, he won’t be adding Kizomba to his repertoire anytime soon and anyways he has already booked his ticket back to France for New Years to a live band with over 400 dancing guests.